Iceland is a place who’s scene is really beginning to make some waves. Last year saw an absolutely splendid release from Sólstafir which won seemingly universal praise. Looking to garner similar appraisal is Reykjavik’s genre melding Kontinuum with the bolt from the blue triumph, “Earth Blood Magic”.
A challenging album to pigeonhole entirely, “Earth Blood Magic” sees a relatively unique but very fluid combination of ambient and post black metal influence with some very doom laden parts, and even the presence of some native or folk nuances. For the vast majority of it the album shares a lot of similarities and ground with such ambient post black acts; I can hear a lot of similarities with the likes of Agalloch and the aforementioned Sólstafir for example throughout the more mellow and slow paced parts, and it does share the same near morose atmosphere as well.
The obvious comparisons with Sólstafir do widen as well with the use of native elements in their sound, especially the use of the Icelandic language and the use of some folksy instrumentation.
Simultaneously, the prominent, slow and brooding bass has a real doom metal feel to it, especially accompanied by the very melancholic lyrics at times, such as in ‘Moonshine’ with the phrase of “My soul is sinking” being particularly noticeable. The final track ‘I Gljufradel’ is even a piano led number, of a funeral like tone of the ilk of Anathema. Overall, whilst not being entirely original per se, Kontinuum have produced an album which shows a lot of unique qualities and character and have released an unexpectedly great and sombre effort.
If you are a fan of any of the bands mentioned in this review then you really should love “Earth Blood Magic”. Not the most suited to the currently glorious weather we are having, but an album full of beauty and atmosphere nonetheless.